6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Irony? It's a pity. Back when this movie was originally made in 1975, movies starring black artists had a tendency to be short on plot, budget, & actual input from the actors. There was precious little input from the members of EWF, & the story line suffered. Of course Sig Shore of Superfly fame was notorious for these movies, & in true form the REAL stars of the movie, EWF,had little more than a cameo appearance in a movie named after their breakthrough LP. They litteraly mirrored the record labels brush off of the Group (EWF) in the movie. Although the live footage, & the instrumental backing done by EWF was stellar, there was precious little of it. Even Harvey Kietel couldn't save such a bad script. Sad to say most record companys still do business in this fashion, so the script comes off as sad but true. It's a fair assessment of the music & the blacksplotation films of the time, & a sad assessment of the music industry as a whole. Not a great film, but entertaining none the less. Outside of EWF's music, I'd say the plot reeks of Saturday Night Fever psydo drama. If you're a big EWF fan, you'll enjoy their music, but be prepared for a long wait to get to it. Rare film. The movie is OK.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The movie that explains their awesome breaktrough album That's the Way of the World(1975 CBS Records)album soundtrack. Here is a copy of the official press release:
Thursday, May 04, 2006
That's the Way of the World press release
Current mood: excited
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities
CELEBRATE THE 70S AS BCI PRESENTS THE FILM DEBUT OF THE LEGENDARY EARTH, WIND & FIRE
THATS THE WAY OF THE WORLD
First Time on Home VideoAvailable July 18th For $19.98;
Coinciding with Earth, Wind & Fires Summer Concert Tour;
Breakthrough Film Score Features Classic Hits
Shining Star and Reasons
Also Available This Summer in HD-DVD Format
Los Angeles, CA Theyre one of the most inspirational, influential and successful bands in music history, and have consistently changed the face of R&B and pop music over the past 35 years. In 1975, their breakthrough hits Shining Star and Reasons were the featured songs on the soundtrack for the film Thats the Way of the World. Fresh on the heels of their 23rd album, Illumination, BCI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, will release this long thought lost film Thats the Way of the World on DVD July 18th, at a suggested retail price of $19.98. The title will also be available this summer in the HD-DVD format. Featuring an array of special features, Thats the Way of the World explores the politics that surround the recording industry and a producer trying to fight the system, and stars Harvey Keitel and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Earth, Wind & Fire has reached iconic status in the music industry, earning a plethora of accolades too numerous to mention, said Ed Goetz, President, BCI. This film and soundtrack helped skyrocket their career, and were pleased that it will finally be available to the widest audience possible.
Thats the Way of the World stars Keitel as Coleman Buckmaster, a highly-regarded record producer who appreciates the talent of The Group, played by Earth, Wind & Fire. But the system under which Buckmaster works sees things differently. The record executives want him to focus on a white pop act whom they feel has the sound America wants. To keep his creative integrity, Buckmaster carefully begins to fight the system that has made him the respected producer he has become.
Special features include:
Feature length audio commentary with Earth, Wind & Fire members Verdine White and Ralph Johnson
Eight page booklet featuring liner notes and photos
Stills and poster gallery
Trailers and TV spots
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Nicole T. Walters
- Published on Amazon.com
My fiancee has been looking for this movie for years. He told me EW&F was in a movie with the same name as their album, but I didn"t believe him. He has watch this movie over and over since he got it. Thanks!!! A happy man makes a happy home! :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
When I got my own copy of the "That's the Way of the World" album in 7th grade (around '87), I noticed "hidden text" that said that it was the soundtrack to a movie of the same name. I'd always wanted to see the movie, and since I AM a gung-ho EWF fan, that's why I bought it.
As a movie, IT'S NOT GREAT. The acting is sub-par (and that's saying A LOT since this came out during the so-called "Blaxploitation" era), and it seems that the writers rely on cliches in portraying many of the characters. I give the Maurice White and the other cats an "A" for effort for the little bit of acting they try to do, though. They're not in the movie very much. Like others have said, there's only a little bit of live peformance footage.
From the perspective of a musician, FUNKATEER, and EWF lover, though, the opening scene of the movie is what I enjoyed the most...seeing the cats in a simulated studio situation. For other connoisseurs of soul, a real treat is getting to see footage and hear the voice of Charles Stepney (who tries some acting), EWF's legendary producer and arranger. Also there are a couple of montage's demonstrating the recording/creative process. These were truly pleasures to watch.
As far as the extras were concerned, no big whoop. I was particularly disappointed with the commentary. Ralph Johnson's voice came through loud and clear, but it sounded like Verdine White was on the other side of the room without a mic and was largely hard to understand throughout. How the producers of the package allowed that to happen is beyond me.
All in all, it you're an EWF completist, you should own this DVD...just BECAUSE. For the rest of you, well, you can take it or leave it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The score for this film is, without doubt, a work of utter brilliance and the highlight of the film. But before I get underway, I would like to address comments made by Fernando Gonzalez dated October 29, 2007 where he, being uncomfortable with the brilliance of Earth, Wind and Fire and wanting to try and downplay their obvious significance, makes several rather ridiculous statements.
He's clearly a Beatles fan and unable to cope with a band who forged their own path and did things that quite frankly were not done before as The Elements. I was curious were this came from, so I read the other reviews listed here and didn't see anyone that mentioned the Beatles but were giving praise, rightfully so, to The Elements.
Let me first say that while I respect what the Beatles did, it is completely uninformed to think that they are the "center of the musical universe" for every artist. To try and down play Earth, Wind and Fire's undeniable and historical influence to build up the Beatles makes no sense. There is absolutely nothing the Beatles did that Earth, Wind and Fire didn't do and they were an overall superior band. Earth, Wind and Fire are the "center of the musical universe" for many artists who have stated so over and over again.
Let's be clear, Verdine White liked the Beatles, he stated that it was his brothers Maurice and Fred who were his main influences along with Motown. I've read no articles nor seen any interviews where any other band member and they were 9 members strong who list the Beatles as any type of influence. So in response to another statement made in the review "I'm sure Maurice is happy about any comparisons to the Beatles" quite frankly, this doesn't hold water. He was influenced by the sounds of Memphis TN were he was born and grew up and Chicago were he and his family later moved. He was a legend prior to forming Earth, Wind and Fire as the session drummer for Chess Records in the 1960's and member of the Ramsey Lewis Trio.
Now to the review of the film:
The plot for this film was actually fairly decent, it deals with the shady side of the music industry including it's bigotry and ties with "unsavory" characters. "The Group" (Earth, Wind & Fire) is a band trying to make it to the "big time" but is not considered palatable for the new, bigoted and crooked record executive who has just been assigned by the new owners of the label to find a band or group that the company could build it's success around. The company has a hot shot producer (Keitel) who wants to promote "The Group" as the band to carry the label into the next phase of it's existence. They were already signed to the label and where a self contained band that had all the makings of a super group!
Instead, the record exec, without the knowledge of his star producer, hires this far less talented and completely unknown singng trio who fit what the exec felt the record industry should be about, i.e. a white artist with the "supposed purity" of artists back in the 1950's. There was nothing pure about them and their talent or lack thereof caused a rift between Keitel's character and his. Keitel was caught between a rock and a hard place, on the one hand he knew "The Group" was the next "big thing" and he was a loyal friend of everyone in the band. On the other hand, he had a father who was a addict and got his fix from his son, Keitel, who obtained it from one of the execs at the label. Plus he was also under contract to the label with a clause that forced him to unemployed, unable to join another label, for a year if he quit.
The main reason I give this film 4 instead of 5 stars is that Earth, Wind and Fire should have been one of the primary focuses of the film and were not. They are more of a secondary thought and although spoken of quite a bit are rarely ever seen. There are some incredible live and recorded performances and the soundtrack is of course legendary in and of itself. However, if you were going to include them in the movie, they should have played a more significant role. Especially with the plot being what it was.
The film could have explored more of the day to day life of "The Group" and the struggles they went through while being constantly overlooked and placed on "hold" while their white contemporaries and a less talented group where moved ahead of them and allowed to have their songs recorded, marketed and released to the awaiting masses. I think this is the missing link in the movie that leaves something to be desired by the viewers.